Podhoretz Makes My Point – UPDATED


NYPost Opinion Photo/Jeff Day

Yesterday, I wrote here that if we had not so utterly failed in rebuilding at Ground Zero, the Cordoba House, Islamic Cultural Center/Mosque, don’t-call-it-a-mosque-Park51 currently occupying our thoughts would not have been an issue, at all:

In a near-decade that “something” could have taken the form of a park, or a memorial, or a glistening new tower, and the construction of a mosque two blocks thence would have been nothing more than a reinforcement of the notion of American Exceptionalism and what Madeline Albright called The Indispensable Nation, and the narrative would have been a stirring one [. . .] But because such a narrative does not exist, the American psyche is at a disadvantage, and what should only be a mosque becomes nothing less than a psyops victory for terrorism, a demonstration of divine blessing upon a damnable means of movement: America cannot fill its hole within a decade, but we will raise a mosque in a year!

I believe that’s really what all the controversy comes down to: the unspoken pronouncement of America as a horse so weakened, she cannot find the spirit to rebuild where she should have, the overall message the gaping hole at Ground Zero sends of defeat, and disorder. It’s a notion so uncomfortable that I’ve had a few emails from people calling me “Un-American” for suggesting there has been any failure at all.

But yes–as Obama would say, “make no mistake”–our inability to rebuild on site has been a failure and it is wholly our own failure, no one else’s. It is a failure of leadership, drive and vision. It is a paralysis of politics, pandering and passivity.

Had we rebuilt, this mosque project would not be on anyone’s radar.

My point seemed to be lost on others, too, who were so quick to crouch into predictable parroting posture and start squawking “bigot! racists! Islamophobes! Bwwwark!” that they missed my criticism. I got hate mail from them, too, telling me I was Un-American for being an Un-American Christianist Nazi Un-American Idiot Poopyhead.

My hate mail from right and left tends to be very similar, but the people on the left use bigger words and curse more.

John Podhoretz, writing in the NY Post today, makes a similar point to mine, but lays it out plainly, and even points fingers:

The real story of the Ground Zero mosque is that the project only became feasible because of the appalling and astonishing fecklessness of the officials who were charged with the reconstruction of the site and the neighborhood all the way back in 2001.

We’re just three weeks shy of the moment, nine years ago, when the landing-gear assembly from the plane that hit the South Tower smashed through the roof and two floors of 45 Park Place, which housed a Burlington Coat Factory.

Imagine that, in the weeks following, you had expressed the opinion that in nine years’ time, that building would sit abandoned only 560 feet from Ground Zero — and there would be no memorial, no museum, no nothing on the 16 acres on which the towers themselves sat.

You’ll have to read it all to see who he blames (hint, it’s the guy I pick to be the next Dave Gergen).

No argument from me. But I think there’s a good deal of blame to go around.

We’ll file this under “Remaking America.” It certainly can’t be filed under “American Genius”

UPDATE:
Some interesting comments at Hot Air

UPDATE II:
Shrinkwrapped appears to have been ahead of both of us!

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Bender, I find it—ahem!—interesting that the same kind of people, who’d go ballistic a the sight of a Christmas tree on public property, have suddenly become champions of “religious freedom!”

    (And, of course, no religion in America has the absolute right to build absolutely anything, anytime, in any spot they choose! They have to clear everything with planning boards, the zoning people—and they might get turned down. If they’re in California, they have to pass earthquake standards. If the local community doesn’t like the idea the extra generated traffic, ringing church bells, Hindu chariot parades or what have you, they have the right to protest, and they often do.)

  • Jeff

    The Ground Zero cross last I knew was standing outside on the side of St. Stephen’s (?) near the site. The really old catholic church down there.


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